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Brighton Beach Memoirs closed 1 Nov, poor ticket sales to blame

Brighton Beach Memoirs closed 1 Nov, poor ticket sales to blame Brighton Beach Memoirs, the first of two productions billed as The Neil Simon Plays closed on 1 Nov 2009. The decision to shutter the show was made because of ailing ticket sales. The play, which began previews on 2 Oct 2009, struggled at the box office when tickets first went on sale. Slow ticket sales during previews are not unusual for a production, but a play will usually expect sales to improve after opening night, especially if it is well received by the critics. Sadly for Brighton Beach Memoirs which opened on 25 Oct 2009 to mostly very good reviews - 'Warm and funny' (NY Daily News); 'An exquisite balance between comedy and pathos' (Variety); 'Triumphant' (NY1) - the expected jump in ticket sales did not emerge and so the producers reluctantly decided to shutter the production. Producers Emanuel Azenberg and Ira Pittelman said, "A lot of nice people on stage and off will be out of work and a lot of good partners and investors will have lost a great deal of money. They all deserve better. It makes us sad." Ironically, the second production in the Neil SImon Plays is called Broadway Bound, which alas it no loger is. The cast had until yesterday been on the boards in the evening for Brighton Beach Memoirs and in the rehearsal rooms during the day preparing for Broadway Bound which was due to begin repertoire performances with Brighton Beach Memoirs on 18 Nov 2009. Brighton Beach Memoirs and Broadway Bound mark director David Cromer's Broadway debut. The Chicago based director helmed the off-Broadway production of the musical 'Adding Machine,' which played to critical acclaim at the Minetta Lane Theatre from 9 Feb - 20 Jul 2008, and he is currently represented off-Broadway with the Chicago production of Thornton Wilder's 'Our Town' playing at the Barrow Street Theatre. The Neil Simn plays starred Laurie Metcalf (Kate Jerome), Dennis Boutsikaris (Jack Jerome), Santino Fontana (Stanley Jerome), Noah Robbins (Eugene Jerome in Brighton Beach Memoirs), Josh Grisetti (Eugene Jerome in Broadway Bound), Jessica Hecht (Blanche), Alexandra Socha (Nora) and Gracie Bea Lawrence (Laurie Morton). The semi-autobiographical 'Eugene Jerome' plays - Brighton Beach Memoirs and Broadway Bound - were two of the longest running Broadway plays of the 1980s. Both plays ushered in a new era of appreciation for Neil Simon, with praise for the playwright's hilarious and poignant account of his adolescence, early career and family life in New York in the 1930s and 1940s. Brighton Beach Memoirs originally opened on 27 Mar 1983 at the Alvin Theatre and played for 1,299 performances. (During the run of Brighton Beach Memoirs, the Alvin Theatre was renamed The Neil Simon Theatre). Broadway Bound opened on 4 Dec 1986 at the Broadhurst Theatre, where it played for 756 performances. Brighton Beach Memoirs centers on young Jewish teen Eugene Morris Jerome and his extended family living in a crowded home in the Brighton Beach section of Brooklyn in 1937: his overworked father, Jack; overbearing mother, Kate; his older brother Stanley; Kate's widowed sister Blanche and her daughters, Nora and Laurie. As Eugene spends his time daydreaming about a baseball career, he must also cope with his family's troubles, his awkward discovery of the opposite sex and his developing identity as a writer. In Broadway Bound, it's the late 1940s. Eugene and his older brother Stanley have started their careers as professional comedy writers, but at home in Brighton Beach, their parents' marriage is falling apart. When the brothers use these troubles as inspiration for a radio comedy skit, the Jerome family may never be the same. The Neil Simon Plays were produced on Broadway by Ira Pittelman, Max Cooper, Jeffrey Sine, Scott Delman, Ruth Hendel, Roy Furman, Ben Sprecher/Wendy Federman, Scott Landis and Emanuel Azenberg. Neil Simon's career spans a remarkable six decades in theatre, film and television. He is the winner of three Tony Awards, a Pulitzer Prize and the Mark Twain Award for American Humor and was awarded a Kennedy Center Honor in 1995. Some of his plays for the theatre include 'Barefoot in the Park,' 'The Odd Couple,' 'Plaza Suite,' 'The Last of the Red Hot Lovers,' 'The Prisoner of Second Avenue,' 'The Sunshine Boys,' 'California Suite,' 'Chapter Two,' 'Lost in Yonkers,' 'Laughter on the 23rd Floor,' 'The Dinner Party,' the Eugene Trilogy of 'Brighton Beach Memoirs,' 'Biloxi Blues' and 'Broadway Bound,' and the books for the musicals for 'Little Me,' 'Sweet Charity,' 'Promises Promises,' 'They're Playing Our Song' and 'The Goodbye Girl.'

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